ATP Nottingham: Pablo Cuevas gets the better of Marcos Baghdatis in final set tiebreak

Pablo Cuevas came back from match point down and 4-0 down in the final set tiebreak to see off the ninth seed Marcos Baghdatis at the Aegon Open 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8).

Prior this tournament the Uruguayan had just two match wins on grass to his name in his career, now he has won three here in Nottingham alone as he booked his place in the semifinals.

The Cypriot makes a slow start

In what was the pairs first meeting, it was a very bizarre start to the match as the Cypriot opened proceedings with two aces and three double faults to hand the second seed a break after Cuevas only hit the ball twice in the game. That bad start did not deter the ninth seed however, as he broke straight back to love.

Cuevas secured the break once again in the third game and managed to back it up on serve in the following game. Play continued to go with serve, with the Uruguayan serving exceptionally well when attempting to close out the set, firing down an ace and a few more strong first serves to take the set 6-3.

Baghdatis much better in set number two

Baghdatis looked to bounce back quickly at the start of the second as he gained a 0-30 advantage on the second seed’s serve. The Uruguayan picked up his serve again, reaching the level he did at the end of the first set to win four points in a row and hold for 1-1. The Cypriot tried to earn a crucial break again at 30-30 and deuce but was left disappointed once more as the second see drew level at 3-3.

The eighth game was a lengthy affair, with Cuevas double faulting at 30-30 to give Baghdatis a break point opportunity. The Uruguayan saved the first and then saved a second with a smart short forehand cross-court which the Cypriot could not retrieve.

The ninth seed got another chance, which he was able to capitalize on as the second seed made three unforced errors to find himself 0-40 down. Cuevas saved the first but Baghdatis ripped a backhand down the line to secure the set 6-4.

Disappointment for Baghdatis after his campaign ends despite giving it his all. Photo: Getty
Disappointment for Baghdatis after his campaign ends despite giving it his all. Photo: Getty

Incredibly close final set

Cuevas seemed to have lost a lot of confidence in his serve as he faced two break points at the start of the third. The second seed saved the first with an ace and the second with a superbly struck backhand winner down the line. The Uruguayan also saved a third break point and secured a crucial hold.

The world number 25 had to fend off another break point midway through the set after the former semifinalist ripped a backhand service return winner to put the pressure on the Uruguayan.

At 5-4 with the second seed serving, Baghdatis hit a brilliant drop shot winner to get to match point, but as he did in his match against Dan Evans yesterday, Cuevas dug deep to hang on. Baghdatis then faced a break point of his own in the eleventh game but came up with another drop shot winner on the forehand side before Cuevas held to love to take us into a tiebreak.

Last year’s semifinalist made a fast start as he secured two mini breaks for a 4-0 lead, but the second seed was not beaten yet, with the Uruguayan winning six points in a row to get to two match points of his own. Baghdatis gave it his all as he saved both and then saved two more before a double fault put him 9-8 down. Cuevas made no mistake on this occasion, securing a remarkable win 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8).

The second seed, who has two ATP Tour titles on the clay to his name this year, will next face the eighth seed Gilles Muller, after he ousted Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets.

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